Your Turn Challenge Day 2: The Ordinary is Still Significant
A big-time motivational speaker-guy (you know the type) once said to me that in order for you to make your living being a speaker, you needed a story that people wanted to hear. Were you in New York the day the Twin Towers came down? Did you survive a tragic accident? Were you diagnosed with something awful, but have found your way through? If so, you can trade in all that drama for some big time speaking gigs... so at least there's that.
And then there's little old ordinary me. I should be grateful, should I not? In my first 38 years, I've escaped the kind of storyline that begs for the telling, and the hearing. As grateful as I am for the un-tumultuous story I seem to be living, it poses a problem for me as a speaker.
For example, I was in negotiations with a group about perhaps keynoting their conference this spring. It went something like this:
"Are there any 'unique' hurdles you've had to overcome that you think would really inspire and help connect to our participants?"
My response - as a speaker who talks about authenticity and moving people with our stories - was this:
"No, though the struggle to bring our authentic voices into the world is a daily one, and one that affects us all. Is there a more important hurdle to overcome than the realization that the very ordinary story that we are living out each day is essential because it is exactly that - ordinary? Because it's our collective story? If told well, an 'ordinary' story can influence and inspire."
This rather ordinary story is still a significant one.
Day #2 of the #Your Turn Challenge, and I know this: finding the significance in the ordinary moments of our day helps us tell a story that illuminates ourselves and our world. The stories of our lives are formative. In the words we use, our lives get re-played in ours and others' minds - and in telling it, we can understand ourselves and others differently. This is not small thing. And that is our job - as speakers, performers and creatives who are moving an audience. It is our job to make the ordinary significant.